Mixed Policies and Mixed Messages
By Caren Z. Turner
Just some examples…Confused about the Obama Administration’s policy vis-a-vis Afghanistan? We certainly were. In the early morning we swore we heard commentary regarding a continued commitment to Afghanistan – until the year 2024. By early afternoon, we kept hearing about troop withdrawal. The Associated Press seems to have pegged it perfectly. “In President Barack Obama’s twin narratives, the United States is both leaving Afghanistan and staying there.” They further noted that, ” Even after the U.S. combat mission is concluded in 2014, it is likely that thousands of U.S. troops will remain for some years to conduct counter terrorism strikes and otherwise train and advise Afghan forces, and help the Afghans collect and exploit intelligence on insurgents and other military targets.” “Forward” I suppose?
The US Postal Service, is eager to activate a $22 billion cost-cutting plan by May 15. However, a letter sent earlier this week by Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Thomas Carper (D-Del.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.) emphasizes that the Postal Service also should wait to close facilities because the Senate bill passed last week might actually bar USPS from closing some of its sites.
On the positive front, while the government is teasing out its manufacturing policy, manufacturing expanded last month at the strongest pace since June, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Conferees were named for both the Senate and House Transportation bills. This legislation is likely to create more jobs than most other pieces of legislation passed this year. Let’s hope for quick resolution and passage.
Paul Ryan’s alternative to sequestration was unveiled this week. Without an alternative to sequestration, most non DOD government agencies and programs are likely to see a 9 percent cut. Most budget experts on Capitol Hill are working on their budgets based on either House or Senate plans. It is still unknown whether either House or Senate budgets will be passed. In recent years the most the Congress has done is pass the continuing resolution (CR), a measure that simply continues the budget of the previous year!
C’est la vie!
Please call with any questions you may have!
Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.